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Thursday, July 13, 2006

America discovers what we've always known - "It's Great to be in Pittsburgh!"

"Look at the city.
Look at this ballpark.
It's great to be in Pittsburgh." - Bill Mazerowski, 7/12/2006

On Tuesday night, American baseball fans were let in on "our little secret" -
Pittsburgh is spectacular.

Pittsburgh sparkled in all of it's "redd-up" glory, and it became clear to everyone watching that Pittsburgh is no longer "hell with the lid off". To the contrary, Pittsburgh has transformed itself into America's secret gem.

Now comes the hard part - We must leverage the national attention and praise into something more substantial, namely an accelerated economic revitalization boosted by an improved national reputation.
( For example, Toshiba - owner of Westinghouse - was in town for the game, and is deciding where to locate 2,000 engineers for it's nuclear division. Their experience in Pittsburgh will certainly play a role in Toshiba's site selection. )

In the late 1980's and early 1990's, I watched first hand as Cleveland leveraged Jacob's Field and the Rock and Roll Hall of fame into a much improved image. I was in college at Kent State, and Cleveland was the butt of every "dirty city" joke in the country. Cleveland was "The Mistake by the Lake". Although many events contributed to an improved city, a handful of prominent events changed how the Nation saw Cleveland. ( Jacobs Field/The Indians, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and The Drew Carey Show )

Baltimore has a similar story. The Inner Harbor and Camden Yards have helped to spur substantial revitalization in that city's core.

Certainly, neither of these cities is perfect. ( In my opinion, neither of these cities can hold a candle to Pittsburgh ). However, they are examples of places that have taken advantage of an occasional national spotlight.

The convention and visitor's bureau could and should explore avenues for extending the great buzz Pittsburgh is currently experiencing.

A few ideas:

1. Run some advertisements on ESPN and primetime tv thanking the nation for visiting Pittsburgh for the All-Star game and reminding them that Pittsburgh is remarkable. Show highlights from the homerun derby and game, mixed with some stunning views from PNC park and throughout the city.
Enlist financial support from the city's well known corporations - US Steel, Alcoa, PPG, Bayer, Westinghouse, and Heinz - and show their names as sponsors at the end of the ad.

2. Place ads in newspapers around the country in a similar vein, encouraging people from these cities to experience what everyone is talking about. Highlight things that are worth traveling from neighboring regions to see. ( Boating, PNC park, the South Side nightlife, photography, museums, etc. )

3. Barrage potential convention planners immediately! Conventions are a great way to introduced people to our city.

Now is not the time to relax our marketing efforts, it is time to intensify them.
The region must strike while the iron(city) is hot!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like these ideas. You should send them to some local organizations and agencies, as well as the city government.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great ideas. I encourage you to email them to some local organizations that could make use of them.

9:53 AM  
Blogger JacksPgh said...

a bit off topic, but, a friend of mine went to a Pirates game a couple of days ago. I think it was the 18th. He said he a had great seats behind home plate. He also said he was seated behind Tom Hanks, Ron Howard and Dennis Miller (Dennis Miller?). He said they were having a great time and it was a beautiful night. There are also rumors that the 3 were seen at FallingWater. Is there a new movie coming to town?

10:30 PM  

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